Poverty is the hidden message in the “American Dream” fantasy that everyone wants, it’s something Hollywood portrays very well in movies and TV shows. Everyone sees how the United States is a country of business, big buildings, business men in suits, fashion icons, luxury cars, and big houses. However, what about homelessness, hunger, violence, racism, sexism, why doesn’t anyone tell them that America is going to make you be poor. Many people have to overwrite the concept of being poor and translate into surviving. In this essay I will state how five individuals we able to adapt to their poverty knowing that they were probably judged and viewed as lazy.
What is poverty? www.merriam-webster.com defines poverty as “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. “Many Americans mainly think that poor people consist of being unemployed, lazy, lack of education, etc. I even asked a few random people at Capital University, why people are poor and many said lack of employment and others mentioned having a hole in their pocket and not being educated. Even though this may be true; many Americans lack the facts that many poor people are hardworking people who fail to make ends meet. Many Americans live under three different kinds of poverty, they consist of: Official Poverty, Absolute Poverty, and Relative Poverty. To best understand what all three forms of poverty, I found the best definition of all three in Kendall, Diana’s textbook “Sociology in Our Times” Page 205. Kendall defines Official Poverty as “the income standard that is based on what the federal government considers to be the minimum amount of money required for living at a subsistence level.” Absolute Poverty is “a level of economic deprivation that exists when people do not have the means to secure the most basic necessities of life.” Finally Relative Poverty is “a level of economic deprivation that exists when people may be able to afford basic necessities but are still unable to maintain an average Standard of living.
There is a diversity of faces and voices that define people that are currently living in poverty. If you seen them on the street would you know them? Who are these unfortunate people? Do you think you could point them out? Where do they come from? While some impoverished people are apparent -many are hidden and walk amongst us everyday, fighting to survive, playing the societal game, and hoping to rise up and leave behind a life of poverty and despair. The impoverished is made up of people from all aspects of life with differences in age, race, color, and ethnicity. This group also includes fallen power elitists; impoverished by greed or over consumption of addiction. The issues of poverty and homelessness go hand and hand. The two are so closely intertwined that we often fail to see that they are in reality one problem, and that the homeless, excluding the handicapped, the aged, and the mentally ill, is merely the most severe expression of it. Charity and handouts do not solve the problems, although they often soften the blow. The impoverished continue to fight their battle to survive, and hope, and pray that the next day will be better then the last.
When one hears poverty they think of having no money or a house and being on the streets like a homeless person. That is in fact true but, poverty is more than that it is more widespread across income levels. Not just those at the absolute bottom of income earned and wages. 12% of Americans are unable to meet their basic needs 20% being 18 years or younger (mit.edu). Poverty does not just affect people on the individual level it also can have effects on communities as a whole.
Poverty is not having the money to meet a human’s basic needs. It’s the lack of shelter and education. It’s having poor health because you don’t have the money or transportation to access a doctor. It’s parents not being able to send their kids to birthday parties, or on school field trips (WhatisPoverty.com). There are two horrible types of poverty. The first type is absolute poverty. This type is extremely life threatening. It is when a person does not have the necessities to survive like food, water, shelter, and sometimes even clothing. Undeveloped countries in Africa, and Asia have a high percentage of this kind of poverty. These people often get less than $1.25 a day. The second type is relative poverty. This is when a single person or a whole family doesn’t have as many resources or as much money as the people around them. It is comparing where you live, how much money you have, etc. to the other people in your society. Poverty is not always obvious, you don’t have to be homeless to be in poverty (Lusted 8-10).
In talking about poverty, it is very broad. You can talk about poverty in our lives, poverty in spiritual life, and other things that we experienced poverty. Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not being able to go to school, not knowing how to read, and not being able to speak properly. Poverty is not having job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, and lack of freedom.
Several citizens in America may not empathize with many social conflicts which transpire in America. Unfortunately, when poverty is mentioned people of diverse gender, race/ethnic, and age can relate to poverty in America. Although several societies have not experienced the undesirable measures of relative or absolute poverty; several people know poverty exist through many channels, such as the media, social networking, history and charities.
Poverty has been looked at from two different prospective. You can be in poverty based on either a lack of ambition, or certain circumstances that may have taken place in your life. Anna Quindlen author of Homeless and Lars Eighner author of On Dumpster Diving are both located on the circumstance side of the spectrum. To be on the circumstance side of the spectrum you may have encountered a tragic event in your lifetime, for example the loss of a job. To be placed on the lack of ambition side of the spectrum, you have all the tools to be successful; however, you may be procrastinating or you just don’t care enough. I believe that the people who are in poverty are there because of certain circumstances. Poverty affects many people on a daily basis and Anna Quindlen and lars Eighner bring to light some of poverties harsh
The American dream was a goal that many citizens wanted to achieve but during the 1970’s and 1980’s it was a difficult task, as success didn’t come knocking at the door. During this time period many citizens lost faith in their government as they entered a recession after the Vietnam War. The economy failed to thrive and the unemployment rates increased over time leaving citizens unemployed. As unemployment increased the standard of living decreased, the nation was divided in to different classes the wealthy and the poor. The stock market was chaotic and caused peo...
A social class that has been highly isolated from rest has been all those who live in poverty. Many people are aware of the issues involving poverty, yet they choose to do nothing expecting the government to solve the problem. What people don’t take into consideration is that his problem affects not only them, but also the country as a whole. According to Ron Smith escaping poverty has become more challenging than in past years due to the lack of employment opportunities and the expenses of family care. Smith also stated that the government has been working to find a solution for poverty or more less trying to find a way to prevent it from increasing. The government working through it with the help of policymakers; the w...
The United States used to be known as the “land of opportunity” but today; this statement is slowly dissolving because of the increasing gap in income inequality and the rising poverty rates. Although the United States GDP has nearly tripled over the last 40 years, only a small percentage of American’s have reaped the benefits of this massive growth. The reason that caused the real income for the middle class to barely increase is because of tax cuts and other political policies that have funneled money to the upper echelon. Wealthy American’s are able to receive tax cuts and policies that are in their favor because they have a significant influence on politicians and are able to persuade them to pass laws in their favor. The United States government should increase taxes on the wealthy, increase the minimum wage, institute more pre-kindergarden education opportunities for poor children, and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit program, which would reduce the income gap between the social classes and promote social mobility to revive the faith that the U.S. is the land of opportunity.
Many Americans will not be able to outcompete the more wealthy Americans in education, which means the poorer will not be able to outcompete wealthier in the job market. Moreover, the racial prejudices that exist against some minority groups will extinguish their qualifications before they even have a chance to prove themselves. And even if a poor person tries desperately to work hard to climb up the economic ladder, the weight of the physical and mental stress will crush them. Thus, the American Dream cannot be realized by the majority of Americans, and hence cannot become a reality. Alas, the American Dream ceases to be anything more than a futile hope and an empty
... For far too long, America’s solution to poverty has been giving people a meal and home, rather than teaching them to build their home and educating them so that they can be self-reliant, productive members of our society. As we clearly see in the current economic crisis, poverty is not simply a situation you are born into or “choose”, but by doing things like dropping out of school. What will it take to rebuild such a strong American economy that we can actually end poverty? First and foremost is education: Education is vital for the young; it must include special educational programs and encouragement of technical schools so new inventions are made and new industries creating a higher workforce for the future. Government tax on imported goods will continue the industrial renaissance creating jobs. Ending poverty means jobs for everyone who can and wants to work.
Even before 1935, when social security was established, the government has been trying to find ways to keep people out of poverty. From food stamps to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, all of these government programs have been created in attempts to stop people from becoming completely poor. According to journalist Peter Elderman from the Sunday Review, “…we have enacted programs that now keep 40 million people out of poverty. Poverty would be nearly double what it is now without these measures,” (2012). The only issue with these programs is they are not doing enough. They are helping people stay above water, but not helping them float to shore. In other words, the government is not helping poor people gain stability to be on their own and getting out of the poverty. Elderman believes that a sure way to help demolish poverty is to have better paying jobs and bigger investments in education. Most adults with children work low-paying jobs that can barely make ends meet. The government needs to start coming up with ways to raise the minimum wage or get the people in poverty to school, so they can start doing better for themselves. Deluca and Clampets project to see if provided with education, could the poor get out of poverty, and the results were that if the poor were helped and were determined to get out of the impoverished area then it could happen. Although the government can be corrupt